France fines Google $270M for unfair online ads treatment



France has fined Google £190million after finding the tech giant abused its dominant market position while selling online adverts. 

 

French regulators found Google had pushed publishers to use its platforms for selling adverts while unfairly punishing rival platforms, using a range of tactics which included charging ''opaque and variable commission fees. '' Google has agreed to pay the fine and end some of its self-preferencing practices, the watchdog said.

The ruling, which blasted Google for an 'extremely severe' infringement of the rules, came after claims by three media groups - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, French newspaper Le Figaro, and Belgium's Groupe Rossel.

 

Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority, said in a statement the decision is the first in the world “to look at the complex algorithmic auction processes by which online advertising ‘display’ operates.”

 

She added that the investigation revealed processes by which Google favored itself over its competitors on advertising servers and supply-side platforms, which are pieces of software used by publishers to manage, sell and optimize ad space on their websites and mobile apps.

The ruling, which blasted Google for an 'extremely severe' infringement of the rules, came after claims by three media groups - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, French newspaper Le Figaro, and Belgium's Groupe Rossel.

 

Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority, said in a statement the decision is the first in the world “to look at the complex algorithmic auction processes by which online advertising ‘display’ operates.”

“This sanction and these commitments will make it possible to re-establish a level playing field for all actors, and the ability of publishers to make the most of their advertising spaces.”

 

Google announced in a blog on Monday June 7, that it will be making a series of changes to its advertising technology.

 

“We recognize the role that ad tech plays in supporting access to content and information and we’re committed to working collaboratively with regulators and investing in new products and technologies that give publishers more choice and better results when using our platforms,” wrote Maria Gomri, legal director of Google France.

 

The investigation came after U.S.-based News Corp, French newspaper Le Figaro and the Belgian press group Rossel filed a complaint against Google.

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